Capel youth centre cash is safe: MLA

Emily AceSouth Western Times

Collie Preston MLA Mick Murray has said there was “no threat” to the funding supplied to the Capel Shire Council for the construction of Capel Civic Precinct Youth and Community Facility after the council rejected the tender for the project on Friday.

It was recommended to the council to accept the tender from BGC Construction for $5,214,579 with $3.7 million contributed from Lotterywest, Royalties for Regions and the Building Better Regions Fund for the facility, with work slated to begin in late September.

The tender was $288,085 over the shire’s budgeted contribution of $975,097, with councillors deciding the financial risk of the project exceeding the budget was too great to ignore.

Cr Brian Hearne suggested “re-scoping” the project as he could not support it in its “current form”.

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Due to this decision, the council risked having to return $1.36 million of the funding already spent on developing stage 3, but Mr Murray said this would not be the case.

“I have been briefed by the Capel shire and I can understand their concerns about the risk of the ratepayer having to pick up the shortfall in funding which would ultimately increase rates next year,” he said.

“While the project is not dead, it is my understanding there will be some reformatting of the tender with a new tender put out in the near future.

“At this stage I do not see any threat to the current funding.”

Mr Murray understood the council would consider a new proposal which may come before it.

Capel resident Karen Wilson’s daughters Sophie and Emily use the shire’s youth services and she said she was “stumped” by the council’s decision to stop the project. “The girls were devastated, as far as we were all concerned it was going ahead,” she said.

She said the services were vital to the community and helped to keep kids entertained in a healthy and positive way.

The funding agreement requires the project to be completed before November 1, 2019.

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